Friday, February 22, 2013

The once and future pope?

His eminence Boba Cardinal Fett?

The next pope of the Roman Catholic Church will be elected during the month of March, taking over as supreme pontiff from the resigned Benedict XVI, who is expected to revert to his pre-papal name of Joseph Ratzinger. The ex-pope is supposed to devote the remainder of his life to quiet contemplation and prayer, discontinuing his practice of inspirational writing for fear of overshadowing his successor. Ratzinger will supposedly be immured in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery.

There is, however, a subtle plot by the College of Cardinals to keep the new pope in check. The men in red are seizing the rare opportunity of having an ex-pope on hand while breaking in the new guy. They can always threaten to bring the old guy back if the new one disappoints. Of course, Ratzinger is old and tired. The cardinalatial plot depends crucially on Ratzinger's preservation as pope-in-reserve. A clever cabal has solved the problem. Unknown to the world at large, Benedict XVI has been encased in carbonite, as demonstrated by this rare photograph of the pontiff in frozen repose.

The revelatory picture confirms the rumor that Benny Hex was not part of the cardinals' scheme, as he was obviously taken by surprise in mid-blessing. Clever, clever cardinals!


Kathie said...

Immured in a monastery -- would that be Vatican-speak for house arrest?

Zeno said...

Not quite house arrest, but certainly under wraps. Ratzinger is expected to be as quiet as a Trappist during his retirement. No doubt he will recall the fate of Celestine V, who was actually imprisoned by his successor after resigning as pope.

Unknown said...

It really IS house arrest, though the Vatican is a pretty big house. But the wolves are at the door; he has a lot to answer for. The luxury version of finding the nearest rock and crawling under it probably doesn't look so bad right now.

slavdude said...

Actually, I thought I heard that Benedict was keeping his papal name.

Zeno said...

Yes, slavdude. Somewhat to my surprise, I have since heard that Ratzinger will retain his papal name and be known as "Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI." I wonder who made that decision. There's not a lot of precedent to go on. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII (Angelo Correr) in 1415. He survived his resignation by two years and lived out his retirement in Ancona as Bishop of Frascati. No "pope emeritus" title for him! But I don't know if he resumed the style "Bishop Correr" or not. Or, in his case, Angelo Cardinal Correr, since he was dean of the college of cardinals. The current situation offers ample opportunity for innovation.